I don't know about you, but I think that Sydney has some of the best craft beers in the World. No longer just the beverage of choice for hipsters, independently crafted I.P.A's, lager, ales and stouts can be found in bottle shops and hotels all over the city. One of the jewels in Sydney's crown is most definitely the Rock's Brewery Company. Established by fifth and sixth generation convict descendants, they've been brewing some quintessentially Aussie beers for almost 10 years now and serving up some delicious grub at their Brewery Bar in Alexandria. We headed over to try out their new menu and sample some of their freshly brewed beers (it's a tough life!)
Slightly off the beaten brewery track, the Rock's Brewery and Brewer's Bar is located just down the road from The Grounds (though you definitely won't find a petting zoo here!). Despite the industrial setting, the Rock's gang have rolled with it, using tables made from reclaimed wood and old metal pipes and constructing a bar made from mismatched pieces of timber. It's pretty a pretty darn nice spot to have a pint.
We kicked things off with something new and something old - the Keller Bier which had been brewed just last weekend and their house ale, the Kölsch. There's something quite fantastic about sipping on a pint just metres away from where it's been brewed. You honestly can't get more local or fresher than that! Both the beers were pretty light, easy drinking brews and were a great pre-meal starter. If you're not much of a craft beer connoisseur (no one will admit to being one to be honest...), the guys behind the bar are as informed as passionate as you'd expect them to be so don't be afraid to ask what they'd recommend.
Quite unfittingly, the bar and food is American themed. There's a flat screen showing ESPN, a soundtrack of Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Blink 182 classics and plenty of burgers, briskets and smoked hickory meats on the menu. Apparently the Rock's owner spent some time in the US and wanted to re-create a similar vibe to some of the classic bars he visited while he was there. While it doesn't quite fit the 'Brewed with Conviction' philosophy/the Aussie pride that they're known for, it does mean that their menu doesn't fall into the standard and pretty vague 'Modern Aussie' category. Anyway, smoked hickory brisket with waffle fries sounds bloody delicious.
Mid-pint, our sizeable starters arrived - the Louisiana hot wings and the calamari with lime aoili. As mentioned beforehand, the portion sizes were pretty generous, making them both perfect to share between friends or could even count as a meal themselves if you're feeling greedy. As someone who can't always handle the heat, I was a bit reluctant to try the wings but they were actually pretty mild so you could actually taste the wonderful tangy sauce they were slathered in. Plus, if you're a fan of ranch sauce, the wings also come with a HUGE pot of the stuff.
Our mains were from two ends of the foodie spectrum - the 'Drunken' Chicken, a 1.6kg poultry beast with roast veggies and slabs of chicken bread and the Wild Mushroom, Quinoa and Rocket Salad. The latter is a marvel, like a roast dinner standing on its hind legs. The meat was cooked to perfection, the roasted vegetables were delicious and the slices of toasted bread acting as the plate had soaked up all the pan juices. While the menu says 'Fit for two', you would probably want to bring an extra friend or two to help to tackle the bird.
The salad was one of the new lighter additions to the menu and, being vegan, veggie-friendly and gluten free, it's bound to keep even the fussiest of eaters happy. What I really enjoyed about the dish was that although it looked pretty unspectacular, the textures and flavours of the grains and vegetables made it a surprising, interesting and tasty meal. Plus, it would make a great side to one of the other mains like the Pie of the Day or one of the steaks.
After all that lovely grub, we were definitely feeling fit to burst but when the sticky fig pudding arrived, we couldn't resist. Served with ice cream made from the Rock's own Butcher Porter brew, the pudding was sweet and rich but not too sickly which puddings can sometimes be. The ice cream is definitely to an acquired taste but, obviously, it goes down nicely with the liquid Butcher Porter on the side.
Whether you're looking for a spot to grab a schooner in the sun or you're wanting a hearty meal in a pretty unique location, you should certainly check out the Rock's Brewery Bar (and maybe bring a growler or two home with you!)rocksbrewing.com/rocksbrewing/The-Brewery-Bar